* Yahoo's board approves $1.1 bln Tumblr acquisition
* Plains Exploration stocks up as Freeport sweetens deal
* Actavis to acquire Warner Chilcott in stock-for-stock deal
* Dow off 0.04 pct, S&P up 0.01 pct, Nasdaq up 0.01 pct
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, May 20 U.S. stocks were little changed
on Monday as acquisition activity gave support but investors
were reluctant to rush into the market with indexes hovering
around record levels.
Deals including Yahoo's $1.1 billion bid for Tumblr indicate
that companies continue to search for growth through
acquisitions, a bullish sign for stocks. Yahoo was up
0.8 percent at $26.73.
The S&P 500 and Dow industrials finished Friday at fresh
record highs and the Nasdaq Composite is at its highest since
late 2000. A light economic and earnings calendar could leave
the market vulnerable for a pullback, but those have been
shallow and short-lived as investors take any weakness as a new
chance to increase long positions.
On Monday, the S&P 500 notched a new intra-day high at
Some consolidation "will let things settle down a little bit
after a white-hot two week period for the stock market," said
Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co in
Lake Oswego, Oregon.
"Traders are stepping back, reassessing valuation levels on
Actavis rose 3.3 percent to $129.63 after it said it
will acquire Warner Chilcott Plc in a
stock-for-stock transaction valued at $5 billion. Warner
Chilcott gained 4.1 percent to $19.99.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 5.91 points,
or 0.04 percent, to 15,348.49. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
added 0.20 points, or 0.01 percent, to 1,667.67. The
Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.29 points, or 0.01
percent, to 3,499.26.
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold and Plains
Exploration & Production said they would pay
shareholders more in dividends if they approved Freeport's
roughly $6 billion takeover offer for Plains. Plains shares
jumped 7.2 percent to $48.81, though Freeport slipped 1 percent
Websense Inc shares jumped 28.6 percent to $24.74
after it agreed to be acquired by Vista Equity Partners.
Solar products maker JA Solar Holdings reported
another quarterly loss on lower prices for panels that convert
sunlight into electricity, but its operating loss nearly halved
from the first quarter of 2012. Its shares shot up 45.5 percent
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before
Congress on Wednesday is seen by many as the highlight of the
week for markets. The beginning of the end of the Fed's massive
bond-buying program, which has given strong support to stock
gains, might come sooner than many investors think if recent
gains in the U.S. labor market hold.
The Fed will also release minutes from its most recent
policy-setting meeting on Wednesday, which will be parsed for
signs of the direction of monetary stimulus.